Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas sealed front row start in qualifying on Saturday ahead of the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka International Racing Course on Sunday.
Hamilton who leads the driver's championship set his pole lap in the first part of the final qualifying session. Meanwhile, his title contender Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) ended up in ninth place after a wrong tyre choice at the tricky weather at Suzuka.
Ferrari decided to go for intermediate tyres with Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen after judging the track being dry despite the imminent rains. By the time Ferrari drivers started their qualifying runs, the rain had just begun to fall and they couldn't find the best time. Though the due came back to pits for slicks, the rain came down pouring and Ferrari drivers failed to put out a challenging run.
Meanwhile, Mercedes played it smart by sending both their drivers in early in Q3 before the rain arrived. Hamilton was 0.299 seconds quicker than Bottas on their first runs. This is Mercedes' fifth consecutive one-two in qualifying of Formula One at Suzuka.
Red Bull will start the race on Sunday in the second row behind Mercedes' duo along with Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari. Haas driver Romain Grosjean made an impressive effort and sealed P5 ahead of Toro Rosso duo Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly in sixth and seventh. It is Brendon Hartley best ever grid position who is still not confirmed seat for the 2019 Formula One season. Esteban Ocon was eighth, ahead of Vettel, with his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez winding up P10.
|Grid position||Driver||Team||Q1 time|
|3||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1.29.057|
|5||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||1.29.761|
|6||Brendon Hartley||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1.30.023|
|7||Pierre Gasly||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||1.30.093|
|8||Esteban Ocon||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1.30.126|
|10||Sergio Perez||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1.37.229|